Substance Abuse

The majority of people in prison and jail have a substance use disorder. Despite the promise demonstrated by some treatment programs for people who are incarcerated, just a fraction of the people who need services for substance abuse receive it. Connecting people incarcerated to treatment programs proven to be effective, prioritizing resources for those nearing release, and encouraging community-based aftercare will ensure better outcomes for people released from prisons and jails, and the communities to which they return.

Substance Abuse FAQs

Providing answers on relevant topics concerning Mental Health, Health and Substance Abuse topics.

Recent Posts

Q&A with Julian Adler of the Red Hook Community Justice Center

Q&A with Julian Adler of the Red Hook Community Justice Center

As the nation’s first multijurisdictional community court, the Red Hook Community Justice Center in Brooklyn has served as a neighborhood hub for clinical services, community service, youth programs, and other social supports since its founding in 2000.

DC Courts Are Connecting Individuals with On-Site Treatment

DC Courts Are Connecting Individuals with On-Site Treatment

Having an urgent care clinic located only feet away from courtrooms allows judges and court staff to guarantee that people have access to services. For many defendants, this may be the first contact they’ve had with a mental health professional. Moreover, for some, this treatment may well reduce the likelihood that they will be arrested in the future.

Congress Funds Key Criminal Justice Programs

Congress Funds Key Criminal Justice Programs

Congress funded three key programs championed by the Council of State Governments Justice Center as part of an appropriations bill that provided $26.7 billion to support U.S. Department of Justice programs.

Announcements

Live Forum Highlights Resources Available for Criminal Justice Agencies

Live Forum Highlights Resources Available for Criminal Justice Agencies

Hosted by the Community Corrections Collaborative Network, this live online discussion will address resources available through federal funding for community corrections and criminal justice agencies to help identify and address the needs of people in the system, particularly those with mental disorders and/or substance use disorders.

Register Now for ‘The Beat: A Law Enforcement Officer’s Guide to Drug Courts’

Register Now for ‘The Beat: A Law Enforcement Officer’s Guide to Drug Courts’

This course, hosted by the National Drug Court Institute (NDCI), is designed to educate law enforcement officers on drug court programs and the role law enforcement plays on a drug court team—which also generally includes a judge, public defender/defense attorney, prosecutor, evaluator, treatment provider, and probation officer.

Annual International Research Conference

Annual International Research Conference

Hosted by the International Community Corrections Association, this annual conference will address topics in community corrections related to the event’s theme: “Sustaining Impact: Effective Programs, Measurable Outcomes, and Strong Organizations.”

Webinars

Risk Need Responsivity 101: A Primer for SCA and JMHCP Grant Recipients

Risk Need Responsivity 101: A Primer for SCA and JMHCP Grant Recipients

This webinar provides foundational knowledge on RNR as well as guidance on understanding and implementing risk assessment tools as a way to direct resources and support recidivism-reduction strategies for criminal justice and social service agencies, practitioners, and policymakers.

Improving Outcomes for Court-Involved Youth with Co-Occurring Disorders

Improving Outcomes for Court-Involved Youth with Co-Occurring Disorders

This webinar provides an overview of three briefs that were recently published by National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges on the treatment of co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders among youth.

Publications

Tip Sheet: Strategies for Service Providers Working with the Media

Tip Sheet: Strategies for Service Providers Working with the Media

This tip sheet from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration presents key steps for substance use service providers to consider when interacting with the media, which has increasingly been covering issues surrounding substance use disorders.

Toolkit: Meeting the Needs of Women in California’s County Justice Systems

Toolkit: Meeting the Needs of Women in California’s County Justice Systems

This toolkit from Californians for Safety and Justice describes how counties can benefit from developing criminal justice solutions focused on women. It is designed to provide sheriffs’ departments, probation departments, practitioners, and other leaders with a blueprint for addressing the needs of women under local supervision

Tuesday TED-style Talk at NatCon15

Tuesday TED-style Talk at NatCon15

During this “TED-style” talk at the National Council of Behavioral Health’s annual NatCon conference, the CSG Justice Center’s Dr. Fred Osher explained how the risk-need-responsitivity (RNR) model can be used to reduce recidivism.

Recent headlines

State Pushes Medicaid Sign-Ups for Inmates

Three state agencies in Ohio are aggressively pushing to get the majority of the roughly 21,000 people who are released from prison every year enrolled in Medicaid up to 90 days before they walk out the door. Services don’t begin until they are released, unless they are hospitalized.

Why Does Pennsylvania Imprison So Many Mentally Ill People?

Based on an analysis of data from county and state prisons, PennLive estimates that nearly a third of Pennsylvania’s 87,756 inmates had a mental illness on an average day last year.It begs the question: Why are so many of the state’s mentally ill being locked up?

Federal Prisons Could Release 1,000 Times More Drug Offenders Than Obama Did

There is much buzz when President Obama commuted the sentences of 46 nonviolent federal drug offenders last week, whose “punishments didn’t fit the crime.” However, a lesser-known policy change, enacted in 2014 with far less fanfare will affect 1,000 times the number of people as Obama’s commutations. Colloquially known as “drugs minus two,” the amendment to the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s guidelines could reduce the sentences of as many as 46,000 people.

No Escaping Medical Copayments, Even in Prison

Even going to prison doesn’t spare patients from having to pay medical copays. In response to the rapidly rising cost of providing health care, states are increasingly authorizing the collection of fees from prisoners for medical services they receive while in state prisons or local jails.

A Closer Look at the President’s Speech on Criminal Justice Reform

Pointedly invoking the names of prominent Republicans like Senators Rand Paul of Kentucky and John Cornyn of Texas, part of a bipartisan groundswell for smarter law enforcement, the president called for meaningful change at virtually every juncture: from the first interaction with police officers to prosecutorial charging discretion to the prison sentences imposed by judges to the conditions of confinement to the need for job training for those who are about to be released.

Obama Cuts Sentences of 46 Drug Offenders

President Barack Obama commuted the sentences of 46 drug offenders, saying that “their punishments didn’t fit the crime,” in a move to align some older criminal sentences with current law. “I believe that at its heart America is a nation of second chances, and I believe these folks deserve their second chance,” Mr. Obama said.

Massachusetts Uses Job Training as a Path to Sobriety

Career training may not be for everyone in recovery, particularly if they don’t have stable housing. But many people need to get a job right away to pay rent or make court-ordered payments. Access to Recovery, a national program launched in 2003, aims to help people in recovery find jobs.

How Seattle is Upending Everything We Think About How Cops Do Their Job

The basic idea behind the initiative at the Seattle Police Department — that counseling can be more effective than incarceration in converting drug addicts from criminals into responsible citizens — isn’t new. Yet in one respect, it’s revolutionary. Seattle is asking line officers to think about their work differently.

Connecticut Eases Penalties for Most Drug Possession Crimes

Connecticut’s drug laws will go from some of the most draconian in the country to some of the most lenient this fall when most drug possession crimes are reduced from felonies to misdemeanors, a change that’s increasingly finding common ground between Democrats and Republicans.

New Program Aims to Help Reduce Recidivism in Allegheny County

A Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency grant will fund a new program in Allegheny County aimed at providing affordable housing, employment services and other support for a group of men and women most at risk of returning to jail. The Allegheny County Mental Health and Justice Housing program, an effort of the Allegheny County Jail Collaborative, will focus on 20 people with serious mental illness — or a mental disorder paired with one relating to drug and alcohol use — who have cycled in and out of the criminal justice, behavioral health and homeless services systems.